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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Indian govt has no list of martyred freedom fighters

Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times  KARNAL, January 24, 2014
First Published: 10:01 IST(24/1/2014) | Last Updated: 12:52 IST(24/1/2014)

Even after 67 years of independence, the government of India doesn't have complete list of the Indians who sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle.

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In a reply given to a Panipat-based social activist PP Kapoor, the freedom fighters (FFR) division of the union home ministry said that "the revolutionary martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country's liberation is not available at one place or in one book".

In his petition filed in November last year, Kapoor had sought details of those died in custody or killed by British rulers and criminal charges leveled on them between 1900 to August 15, 1947.

Besides, he also wanted to know how many families of the martyrs or victims of foreign rulers during the said period got pension benefits or national honours.

The branch of the central ministry that deals with the identification of freedom fighters for the disbursement of freedom fighters pension scheme, said that it had no such data. "Pension is a document-based scheme," it reads.

The reply further stated that the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) under the ministry of human resources, in 2009, had planned to work on the national register of martyrs.

At a meeting held on February 9, 2009, it was proposed to include the biographical details of those died in the custody (of the British), or massacres like Jallianwalla Bagh.

But there was no information if the proposal materialised at all. However, the FFR division suggested the petitioner to consult various historical books to get information about the Indian martyrs.

"However, the greatness of all martyrs is obvious and so widely acclaimed that it does not require any government or official recognition," said the official reply of the union home ministry. However, the petitioner Kapoor said that terms the official standing as "unfortunate and undignified" for those fought for the Independence.

"It is really pity that we as a nation have chosen to forget all those patriots who laid down their lives for freedom. The respective Indian governments have dedicated over 220 acres of prime land in New Delhi to raise palatial memorials for a section of chosen politicians from the post-independence era," said Kapoor.

Amused at the union government's reply, Raghuvendra Tanwar, professor of modern history, Kurukshetra University, said that several eminent historians had done indepth research and published details of several people who had sacrificed their lives, including at Jallianwalla Bagh incident.

"The central government should have compiled such an important data, which is available at various archives, libraries etc, to motivate next generations," he said.

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